Portland Press Herald columnist Michael D. Harmon was accidentally killed with his own handgun on Dec. 28 in Sanford, Maine.
Harmon was apparently showing the gun to an unidentified 16-year-old boy when the firearm went off, notes the Portland Press Herald.
The boy and his father, both from North Berwick, were visiting Harmon.
Maine state police spokesman Steve McCausland said: "The circumstances under which the gun was introduced is still under investigation. It is just one of the many questions we have."
Harmon’s widow, Margaret Harmon, said the shooting was an "accidental tragedy."
Harmon wrote for newspapers in the Portland, Maine, area for 41 years before retiring in 2011.
The 71-year-old journalist contributed opinion columns to the Portland Press Herald until his death. He strongly defended gun rights and other conservative causes.
In a January 2016 piece for the Portland Press Herald, Harmon lamented President Barack Obama's executive order that required background checks at gun shows:
As Rush Limbaugh noted Tuesday, we have finally reached the point where we can stop calling them executive orders and start calling them "fatwas."
And his firearms fatwa is multifaceted. What it tries to do may be minimal, but what makes it threatening is not its immediate impact but its targets, which are law-abiding gun owners, who can expect this to be the start of yet another campaign to rein in their constitutional rights.
In September 2016, Harmon wrote in the Portland Press Herald how he opposed a ballot initiative, Question 3, that would have required all gun sales to go through a federally licensed dealer who would perform a background check of the buyer.
Harmon complained in The Maine Wire about a proposed state law that would have required gun owners to take safety classes in 2013:
But perhaps the worst of the bunch is LD 1240, which would on the plus side allow police to take guns away from people admitted to a psychiatric hospital on an emergency basis, but would also increase the minimum age for a concealed carry permit from 18 to 21 (we let 18-year-olds handle machine guns for the military, but something keeps them from qualifying to carry a .38?) and require background checks for all private gun sales except to family members.
But the absolute worst part of the bill is that it would require all gun buyers to take a firearm safety course.